The data collected by most organizations isn't truly inclusive.
Although diversity and inclusivity initiatives have been around for decades, very little research has been conducted that includes a truly diverse and inclusive set of data.
Two primary categories, gender and race, are traditionally examined in these studies, with specific attention to female and Black workers. However, other marginalized groups receive little to no attention. For racial data, this means a significant lack of data or studies that include information on HIspanic/Latinx workers, Asian workers, or Native American / First Nation workers, as examples.
For gender data, nonconforming genders and LGBTQIA+ individuals are often inaccurately labeled. The same goes for other marginalized groups, like individuals having different physical and mental capabilities, or those with mental health-related disabilities. Hispanic/Latinx workers are sometimes included in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) studies, as are Asian and LGBTQIA+ workers.
Years of Data Present an Inaccurate Picture, While DEI Initiatives Fail
The limited reports available indicate the nearly-consistent failure of DEI initiatives across the corporate world as a whole in reaching true diversity or inclusivity.
Women remain under-represented in every level of business, the representation of all measured minority groups narrows when moving up the corporate ladder, and people of color - particularly women of color - are disproportionately negatively affected by a traditional corporate structure that is not fully dedicated to a truly diverse and inclusive environment for all employees (and potential employees).
Given these constraints with current initiatives and the research on those measures, it is not possible to present an accurate "state of inclusion in the workplace" in the US, as true inclusion has been neither appropriately studied nor achieved.
That said, much can be done to help organizations improve their DEI initiatives and move their work environments and hiring practices toward greater success in this arena. Immediately actionable insights can be found in Madame Curiosity's comprehensive report, Transformative Equality in the Workplace, due to be released early March 2021.
Diversity & Inclusion Are Essential to Loyal Employees & Strong Bottom Lines
Organizations implementing multiple DEI initiatives across major segments of the workplace, and tracking those initiatives (as well as adjusting where data indicates it is needed) will find the greatest success - not only in happier, more productive employees, but also in their bottom lines.
Research from Glassdoor shows that 67% of American workers believe that workplace diversity is an important factor to consider when choosing a place of work, and over half believe their companies need to work harder to increase diversity among the workforce. Notably, employers recognized for strong DEI practices (among other things, like dedication to sustainability) have employees that are more loyal and stay employed with the company longer - which saves a lot of dough down the line in employee churn.
Unfortunately, not all companies support true inclusion among their diverse workforce, and this leads to issues that decrease employee loyalty and productivity.
In the past year, nearly half (45%) of workers in America report having experienced some form of discrimination and/or harassment in their workplaces, and this does not include any number of incidents that went unreported for fear of reprisal.
Each instance costs the company money; by creating an unsafe or unwelcoming environment, employees experience more issues related to health and well-being, and are more likely to have issues with their workloads and/or colleagues, experience increased absenteeism, or to leave the job altogether.
Companies that achieve stronger levels of diversity and inclusion reap the benefits.
The more women that hold leadership positions, the greater the return to shareholders; the greater the diversity at all levels, the greater the percentage the company will outperform competitors with less-diverse workforces.
Additionally, organizations that scored well on two-dimensional diversity factors, which speak to inclusivity of intersectional identities, were 45% more likely to have increased their market share than their competitors who don't share their depth of DEI commitment.
To Compete in the Modern Work Environment, Companies Need to Achieve True Diversity & Inclusion
Millennials and Gen Zs are the most diverse generations in our country's history, and they are filling up corporate workplaces as Boomers retire and Gen Xers move up corporate ladders.
The world of work in our future is a diverse place, and America's work environments and corporate structures need to transform to meet the changing needs of our society. Thus far, the movement on these efforts has been too slow - and, in this time of heavy racial, moral, and political divides, we need to find a common ground where everyone is recognized and appreciated for who they are and what they bring to the table.
That's why, at Madame Curiosity, diversity and inclusivity initiatives are integrated into every facet of the way we do business - our hiring and contract practices, the ways we provide our workforce with a respect-centered environment that celebrates their gifts and provides for their needs, all the way to the clients we choose to serve.